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You say, " I definitely don't want to manually change the point size and leading on every different style", but if your styles aren't based on one style, you'll have to change every style used manually.
If you paste, does the new doc has already the styles you created? I mean, did you paste it twice? If the styles already exist, just delete them in the new doc and try again, after altering the styles as needed in the base doc. Also, try to make a copy of a style after altering it, and using that style for the changes. Did you save the style after changing or did you manually override it?
The small caps, for instance, is at 15pts, but I want it to be 14pt in my new document. So, I altered the style in the base document and the change was reflected, but when I copy and paste into the new document, the original settings paste, not the revised ones (i.e. the new style is 14pts, but the text still copies over as 15pts).
When you move styled text from document to document it is the destination file that controls the style defintions, not the source.
I don't mind changing the styles — I already did that in the source document, thinking that it would copy and paste over correctly.
So what you're saying, Peter, is that if I change the styles in document that I'm pasting into, that it should work correctly? I guess I didn't check to see what styles were active in my new document.
Anything that has the exact same name -- styles, swatches, master pages, will use the definition in the destination document no matter what the definition was in the source. Source definitions will be retained for things not already present.